My stats are way up lately

My stats here are way, way up lately but not the number of readers by a significant margin. I know that I don’t have many regular readers and I like it that way; I say most things that I want to say publicly through my writing at Medium.

So that most likely means that one certain person is repeatedly checking to see if I’m writing about her and I wasn’t. I didn’t air anything out on my Instagram, either, and I won’t. I just think that makes it look too much like you’re trying to prove your innocence, which I have no need to do. I wrote an article last night for Medium about the Vulnerability of Being Widowed, which I think sums things up pretty well.

But now I’m going to talk about it here because our friendship is over and dead and I honestly don’t care if it pisses her off that I’m writing about her. She deserves so much worse for what she did to me and she’s damn lucky that I’m not using her first and last name and city and state to shame her all over social media. (I’ll reserve that level of public shaming and much worse for if she continues to try to get out of paying me.)

I loaned a large amount of money to my former “best friend” back in March and April. At first, I offered it as a gift and she said she’d feel better if it were a loan instead. I agreed because even though I wanted to give it to her outright, I couldn’t really afford to do so. (I think she actually said that her husband would feel better about making it a loan, which would prove that he has more of a conscience than she does.)

She’s only paid me back $50 since April. I’ve asked her about the money a small handful of times and she’s reacted very angrily every time. I honestly fear that I will never see that money again and she doesn’t seem too concerned about me, especially since she said that if I’m so worried about the money, maybe I should just go get a job. That’s so cold and heartless that I can’t believe she actually said it. I’m continually shocked by things she says when she’s mad.

She even reminded me that it was initially a gift, as though I should be grateful that she’s going to repay me. But it wasn’t a gift and she knows that. I am not in any way being “mean” in asking for the money back.

I’m still considering the first two payments of about $3000 to her as a gift. Instead of feeling grateful for that, she’s focusing on the $14,000 she borrowed because she doesn’t want to pay it back. Is it going to be difficult to pay it back? Probably so. But apparently she doesn’t remember that at the time when she borrowed it, all of her paychecks were going to payday lenders. I think she can manage.

Fucking over a student loan company or the government is one thing. Fucking over a friend is something else entirely and it says a whole lot about your character and integrity–specifically, that you don’t have much.

If you choose not to repay a friend but still get your hair done regularly, for example, that says a whole lot about your priorities. The way your fucking hair looks is more important to you than your friend. It’s just unreal to me to have your priorities that screwed up. You pay your friend first and then get your hair done if you have any leftover money. Obviously. Not the other way around. I was thinking of finally getting my hair colored and I decided I can’t afford to do it now. I’ll live.

The fact that she would borrow that money in the first place when I was so vulnerable was questionable. She said she had no way of knowing that I was so vulnerable. Okay, but now she does know. Rather than admit that she took advantage of me even unintentionally, she’s making me out to be the bad guy. I’m simply not in any way. I would own up to it if I were in the wrong. I’m not always the good guy and I apologize and learn from it when I’m not.

She’s tried telling me repeatedly that I’m being so mean and hateful and that I’m not acting like a friend. I don’t think she even gets what friendship means. She says she’s been “too depressed” to talk to me for the past few months, for most of the time since I loaned her the money. Guess what? I’m obviously more depressed than I’ve ever been and I still take the time to ask my friends and family how they’re doing, too, and I genuinely listen. I don’t just make every conversation about myself or entirely ghost people when I’m upset, because that’s what you have to do if you expect to maintain relationships with people.

If she wonders why she can’t maintain friendships (or marriages, for that matter) she only needs to take a realistic hard look at how she treats the people closest to her. She always eventually starts taking them for granted and turns on them, always. She could have a ton of friends and probably a decent marriage to someone if she would only take her head out of her ass long enough to see what she’s doing to drive people away. But no, everything is always all about her. You simply can’t be that deeply self-absorbed and expect people to stick around.

But needless to say, I may be vulnerable but she fucked with the wrong person and I will take her to court if I have to in order to get my money back. I would honestly prefer it that way so they would just garnish a set amount from her checks and I’d never have to deal with her directly again. But I’ll give her a chance to do it on her own until September like she said. (Realistically, given her history of following through on her obligations, I’ll still be taking her to court then anyway. Just what I need to be dealing with while still grieving. Sigh.)

I feel like she absolutely knew what she was doing by taking the money from me. Even if I insisted at the time that I’d be fine, I clearly was not in a state of mind where I could make that decision so shortly after losing J. I’ve talked to several people about it (sorry not sorry; at least I didn’t use her name) just to get a gut check and see if I was being unreasonable, as she’s telling me that I am. Even if I swore I would be fine, I can’t believe she didn’t even feel a sense of guilt about it. That shows that she was far more damaged by her upbringing than either of us realized.

Literally everyone has said that she was taking advantage of me. Even if it wasn’t intentional (although most people think it was), everyone else knew that taking that much money from a recently widowed person was shitty. It had nothing to do with whether or not they’ve ever known anyone else who was widowed, either; it was just common sense to them that it was an unethical thing to do. She lacks that sense of personal ethics, probably because of how she was raised, but she needs to figure out quickly that this is a problem that she needs to overcome.

I obviously have major regrets about loaning her the money and I don’t think she is remotely interested in trying to understand where I’m coming from. She’s telling me that I’m being rude and hateful simply for asking for repayment. She was also posting all kinds of shit about me on Instagram before I unfriended her, like that my gift (she means loan) had strings attached and was meant to control her (I guess in that I expect regular, monthly payments?) and that somehow (???) I was gaslighting her.

I said I was casual about repayments in terms of understanding that sometimes things happen and I was, but I now understand that was the wrong thing to say to someone like her. She thought it meant that I didn’t care if she made repaying me a priority at all and that I’d be understanding if she took several months to send me $50, when really what I meant was that I would understand if she had a legitimate life emergency that prevented her from making a payment (not the kinds of “life emergencies” that come all the time from managing your money poorly on a regular basis.)

I just want to be paid back. I’m really scared and vulnerable. She’s obviously not making it a big priority to repay me. I mentioned it to Chloe, who is my wise-beyond-her-years advisor, and she said that if I had borrowed a similar amount of money from a friend, she knows that I would go without everything for myself except food to make sure it was paid back quickly. She was exactly right (as she was in also saying that I’d still get small treats like Slurpees for her and Dylan because I’d figure it wasn’t their fault what I had done.)

I would be very open about the fact that I didn’t have as much money to buy them unnecessary things they wanted because I was paying back a friend I had borrowed money from. The lesson they would learn from watching me try to fix my fuckup would be infinitely more valuable than anything I could ever buy for them.

That’s the secret in a nutshell about how get your kids to turn out well: you have to be transparent about your mistakes, even when they make you look bad, as well as thinking about what kind of people they will turn out to be as a result of your actions. It takes constant self-reflection and radical honesty and holding yourself accountable, because that’s how they learn to do the same.

My friend may think that all of this is going on behind the scenes and her son isn’t noticing but I can guarantee that he isn’t completely unaware. She’s teaching him about how to treat people. I can only hope he knows that what she’s doing isn’t right, which I think he does.

I’m setting an example for my kids about how to treat people and I care very much if they’re ethical people. I don’t want my legacy to be that I screwed over anyone who had ever cared about me.

My word is my bond and it matters to me to have people hold me in high regard. I didn’t always feel that way and I regret the things I flaked on decades ago. But I learned from them and changed.

Obviously, she doesn’t feel the same way. I will go without things I want to preserve friendships. She won’t. She tries to have what she wants and if there’s anything left over, then she takes care of her obligations. Even if she’s cut back a lot, she still doesn’t know how to manage her money. There’s never anything left over and nobody is going to be understanding about that, whether it’s a friend or a formal creditor.

I should have known better than to trust this person. Everything she has shown me in the 20+ years I’ve known her said that she couldn’t be trusted. But I still gave her another chance anyway because she said she had changed. Obvious spoiler alert: she hasn’t. Not remotely enough, at least.

She’s still blaming everyone except herself for her mistakes. She feels entitled to get what she wants without having to work for it. An interest-free loan was still an incredibly generous offer on my part and as far as I can tell, she’s mad that I didn’t just outright give her the money. And I am now very, very glad I didn’t just give it to her, because she still feels entitled to it despite having done nothing to deserve it, which was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do for her. I wanted her to have a second chance to make things right, not to escape the consequences of her actions.

I am hopeful to some small degree that I will take her to court and succeed in getting her checks garnished and over the course of repaying me, she’ll learn about how to manage her obligations and why it matters. (Though I will never trust her again, either. That ship has definitely sailed and the ship caught on fire. She will never be allowed anywhere near me again.)

She doesn’t care that I’m still dealing with the loss of my husband or care about how much that money matters in terms of my long-term survival.

She has burned her bridges with almost everyone else in her life and she had no other options to get this money. Instead of feeling thankful that she got that chance, she’s blaming me for wanting to be repaid. Even the amount of the payments I’m seeking ($200 a month) is nothing remotely close to the terms she would have gotten from any other lender, assuming she was able to find one. (She wouldn’t have been; I know what her credit looked like.)

A couple of years ago, J and I borrowed half the amount that I loaned her, our credit collectively was better than hers, and the best terms we could get were almost $400 monthly payments. When you’re an obvious credit risk, nobody is going to loan you any money at any kind of reasonable rate, let alone a zero percent interest rate.

She has screwed over literally everyone who has ever helped her out and has weaseled out of even paying back her taxes. She was literally the only person on earth that J hated, even counting his abusive stepdad. But I believed her when she said she wanted a fresh start, which was my fault. I was not thinking clearly enough to realize she would screw me over, too.

And if she thinks that me taking her to court is the worst thing I could do to her, she has no idea about how much mercy I am showing her. I could call the city she lives in tomorrow, tell them about the absolutely shocking and unethically inhumane number of cats she has in her tiny duplex, which exceeds local ordinances by more than four times the amount.

But I won’t. Because I’m not mean (despite what she is saying about me) and I don’t want to make her suffer. It would easily give her enough money to pay me back quickly if she got rid of most of the cats and I would still recommend doing so because of how much it would improve her finances but I still won’t do that because I don’t want to punish her and I know she loves them.

I just need to be paid back. Because even if she truly had no idea how vulnerable I was after the loss of my husband (even though it’s literally obvious to everyone else), she did borrow the money and it is interest-free and my only requirement is that I get a payment every month, which is not in any way unreasonable.

If she wanted me to believe she had truly changed, she wouldn’t be reacting so badly to me asking for repayment. She would be sympathetic to why I’m scared and trying to reassure me that everything would be okay. I wanted her to apologize for making me feel worried and to tell me again that I could trust her. But she didn’t and I can’t trust her.

She hasn’t truly changed and I don’t think she ever will. This was her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to prove she had changed and she failed big time. And that makes me sad for many more reasons than just the money.

I always believed anyone could change if they really wanted to. That belief in the basic innate goodness of people was something J and I shared. Like J believing that his mom was better than she is, I wanted to believe the same about my friend. But unlike J, I don’t get the luxury of believing the good in someone right up to my death. Instead I had to find out while I’m still alive and grieving that my friend really didn’t change either. I got to find out just how shitty and selfish both my MIL and my friend are and I have to live with that knowledge.

The truth is that no, not everyone is innately good and redeemable. That effect on my worldview was crushing and I don’t think I’ll recover from it.

1 Comment

  1. SH says:

    Wow at her. Her sense of entitlement is just like my 2 brothers, really.

    Liked by 1 person

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